Stone Structures

Basic info is found in Chapter 7.

The earliest remains of stone buildings in Northern Europe are of longhouses with low walls of stones taken from beaches and fields. They were probably jointed with clay. Walls of stone with lime mortar began to appear around 1000 AD, with stone from local quarries. The stone buildings of this period were almost without exception castles and churches. It was not until the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that quarry stone was used for dwellings, and then mainly for foundations

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The remains of a bronze age dry-walled structure in Ireland. Source: Dag Roalkvam.

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Traditional English dwelling constructed in natural stone.

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Traditional English dwelling constructed in natural stone.

and cellars. Foundation walls of granite were used until the 1920s, later in some places. During the Second World War in Ireland stone became more widely used, but this was relatively short-term.

Extraction and production of stone blocks has a low impact on nature and natural processes. Low technology machinery, well suited for decentralization, is sufficient. Energy consumption is low, as is pollution. Within buildings some types of stone can emit radon gas, though the quantity is seldom dangerous. The recycling potential is high, especially for well-cut stones that have been used in a dry stone wall.

Irregular stones found loose in the ground field stones are easy to get hold of but are limited in their use. More mortar is needed with undressed stone and it thus loses some of its ecological advantages. Due to its weight all the positive aspects of stone construction disappear if the stone material has to be transported long distances. Stone must be a local building material.

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